New Law Creates Oversight Board to Monitor DHS’s Transition to Fee-For-Service System

May 12, 2017

Bill Number: A4146/S2521

Description: Provides for monitoring and evaluation of transition of mental health and substance use disorder treatment service system and developmental disability system to fee-for-service reimbursement model.

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37), Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson (D-14), Senator Joseph F. Vitale (D-19), Senator Robert M. Gordon (D-38), and other legislators was signed into law by Governor Christie on May 11, 2017. This new law establishes two oversight boards that will monitor the transition to a fee-for-service model for the mental health and addiction community and the developmental disability community.
These oversight boards will be tasked with working with service providers to evaluate their costs, revenue, business infrastructure needs and provide technical assistance and training throughout the transition period. The boards will be required to submit status reports to the Legislature, Governor, and the Department of Human Services at six months, one year and then a final report after two years.

“Our primary concern is to ensure that the transition to a fee-for-service payment system doesn’t end up having a negative impact on the delivery of treatment by forcing service providers out of business and effectively limiting treatment options,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee. “We need to ensure the many people who suffer from severe mental illnesses or have developmental disabilities can still afford access to treatment.”

Governor Christie and his Administration recognize the potential challenges individuals, families, and providers may face during this transition and reaffirmed his commitment to our community when he signed this oversight bill. “For the past six years, the State has made significant progress moving behavioral health services and community-based supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities into Medicaid,” said Governor Christie. “I sincerely hope that, in carrying out its objectives under this bill, the oversight boards work constructively and collaboratively with the Department of Human Services to further the goals of the transition to Medicaid-based repayments.”

Autism New Jersey supported this legislation, met with the Governor’s counsel to urge the passage of this law, and will have a seat on the developmental disability oversight board. Large scale changes in service structures can be very challenging and have the potential to put those receiving services at risk. We are thankful that the Legislature and the Governor recognized this risk and see the importance in establishing these boards in order to ensure that continuity and quality of care, along with service accessibility, is maintained throughout the transition period.

Importance of fee for service task force during the transition period:

  • Continuity and Quality of Care – ensure that the transition to a fee-for-service system does not impact providers ability to deliver high quality services due to having to implement new and more cumbersome billing and administrative processes
  • Reimbursement Rates – make certain that the newly establish rate structure is adequate for providers and enable them to continue to meet the growing needs for these services
  • Provider Availability – monitor the existing provider pool to ensure that this transition does not reduce the number of organizations who are available to provide these necessary services

Thank Our Legislators

Does this bill make a difference to you? Thank the sponsors for making it happen!

  • Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37)
  • Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson (D-14)
  • Assemblywoman Pamela R. Lampitt (D-6)
  • Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson (D-37)
  • Assemblywoman Angela V. McKnight (D-31)
  • Assemblywoman Shavonda E. Sumter (D-35)
  • Senator Joseph F. Vitale (D-19)
  • Senator Robert M. Gordon (D-38)